Abstract

The European Union (EU) has sought to establish itself as a global environmental leader but was hit by the combined effects of the economic and financial crisis from 2007-8 leading some to question whether the EU could continue to adopt ambitious environmental policy. This volume brings together leading environmental policy scholars to analyse the impacts of the crisis upon environmental policy in the EU and its member states. Authors analyse whether environmental policy has been dismantled, expanded or stayed the same. If policy has been dismantled, the kind of strategy adopted is analysed (active, symbolic, arena-shifting, or dismantling by default), and at what levels change has occurred.

The Index of Policy Activity (IPA) is applied systematically across the cases, which combine quantitative with qualitative analysis. Non-European cases are also included to provide a counterpoint for comparison. The book finds that whilst the EU has not actively dismantled environmental policy, its economic policies have had negative effects upon some Member States, prompting policy dismantling. Climate and energy policies have seen some policy expansion but there are examples, most notably the UK, where there has also been active policy dismantling. The main trend is one of stasis – environmental policy in Europe is judged to have plateaued calling into question Europe’s much-vaunted environmental leadership. The book contributes to scholarship on environmental policy and public administration, combining empirical and methodological insights to give an up to date perspective on the impact of crisis upon European environmental policy.

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